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Staten Island Restaurant Features Cooking by Italian Grannies

Hot & Cool Trends

By Cari Martens

Mamma Mia! A Staten Island, N.Y., restaurant has hired a rotating team of eight Italian ‘nonnas’ who take turns acting as head chef for one night each week.

Photo: Keivom/Daily News

The small Enoteca Maria restaurant has made its claim of ‘home cooking’ truly authentic with this unique arrangement. Each night, one of the Italian matriarchs dons an apron, checks out the ingredients in the fridge and cooks up a down-home, family-style meal. And the diners are eating it up.

As reported by Christina Boyle of the New York Post, the ladies are from different regions of pasta-loving Italy, who are used to whipping up dinners for large families—and tired of their husbands’ nitpicking of their cooking. Here, there efforts are appreciated. As one of the nonnas says in Boyle’s story, ‘I prefer it here, because the people love me. On Saturday nights, the customers clap,’ she says.

The oldest of the ‘nonna chefs’ is an 80 year-old from the Bronx, and a couple of them are moms, but not yet grandmoms. A crew of cooks is there to help out, but the meals are the creations of the Italian ladies.

Owner Joe Scaravella, quoted in Boyle’s story, says the granny chefs system is a big hit with his customers. “Everyone says the food in their restaurant tastes just like grandma’s, but here it actually is grandma’s food,” Scaravella says.

We’d love to see this trend go nationwide.

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